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‘Gilmore Girls’ Star Keiko Agena on Letting Go of the “Pressure” of Playing Beloved Character Lane Kim

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Keiko Agena is opening up about the mixed feelings she has when thinking back to playing Lane Kim on the popular TV series Gilmore Girls.

The actress, who played Rory Gilmore’s (Alexis Bledel) music-loving best friend for all seven seasons from 2000-07, recalled her experience on the Dear Felicity rewatch podcast, admitting that she has a different perspective of her character compared to what fans may have.

“For me, it’s this separate thing a little bit because I think what [the role] was for people was different than what it was for me,” she explained. “And so, in a weird way, I feel like I want to honor the experience that people had from the show, and what it meant to them, especially young Asian people, because I get that comment a lot, about what it was like for them to see someone like that on screen.”

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The Prodigal Son actress continued, “And, for myself, it was such a survival mode situation. I didn’t think of it that way at the time. And so now it’s just a mix of just having gratitude for having gone through that experience and having that experience.”

Host Juliet Litman also asked Agena what it was like playing a Korean American character on Gilmore Girls, when she is Japanese American.

“The best thing is to have a Korean American writer [and a] Korean American actor,” she responded. “I don’t think that that role, cast that way, would happen today. But at that time, in 2000, it was such a different time that I definitely know I wouldn’t have said no or pulled myself out of that situation at that time.”

Now, nearly 20 years after the show ended, Agena said she has learned to step away from the pressure of expectation, especially with her beloved character Lane.

“I think I’m at a transition point in my life where I have to let go of the pressure that I put on myself to be the best version of who it is that I think that you love,” the Better Call Saul actress said. “Because I love her too. I can tell, when I meet someone who knows Gilmore Girls or who loves Lane, it’s like, I recognize that love. I see that you love that person.”

Agena also reprised her role in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life in 2016.

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